Patrick Carrington


The fury in our heads is not the meek drama
we lay out on paper. We think existential thriller,
bestseller, but write this is to let you know I’m dead,
or simply, I have tried. The mind formulates
grand plans to do it like a Roman,
the hand sends a postcard from the Spanish Steps.

Being alive is traveling abroad.
And still we expect something other
than homesickness. Of ourselves, something
romantic, memorable, not another absurd hero
the shelves are too crowded to hold.

Every time we cross a bridge, we reenlist
by not jumping. We nurse that odd desire.
If the fever wins we check out, toast
in our chosen way. With Thunderbird,
champagne, one last sip from the bitter well

of the heart. We pull the plug in formal clothes,
in no clothes. Some even sweep the floor first,
secure the locks, switch off the lights. Strange
preliminaries to gassing oneself in a garage.

Each culture has a way to explain it—
every breath is a choice,
the nail that sticks up gets hammered down,
if you’ve sat through half a movie
and every second has sucked so far, walk out—

There’s a sad man in every room in the world.
He wants to live forever
yet does not know what to do
with himself on the first day of spring.

Previously published in The Sycamore Review

Patrick Carrington is the author of Hard Blessings (MSR Publishing, 2008), Thirst (Codhill, 2007), and Rise, Fall and Acceptance (MSR Publishing, 2006), and winner of New Delta Review’s 2008 Matt Clark Prize and Yemassee’s Pocataligo Contest in poetry. His poems are forthcoming in The Bellingham Review, West Branch, The Connecticut Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. He teaches creative writing in New Jersey and serves as the poetry editor of Mannequin Envy.

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